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Castlerock in talks to host 2021 Irish Open following successful NI events

 

Green for go: Castlerock Golf Club has one of the finest courses in Northern Ireland
Green for go: Castlerock Golf Club has one of the finest courses in Northern Ireland
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Castlerock Golf Club have announced their intention to host the 2021 Irish Open having already begun talks with European Tour officials over the possibility of bringing the tournament back to Northern Ireland.

The popular Mussenden links at Castlerock, which is seen as a quality third championship-level course on the north coast alongside Royal Portrush and Portstewart, has been earmarked as the host venue.

The Irish Open has already been staged three times in Northern Ireland in the last six years - at Portrush, Portstewart and Royal County Down - with Castlerock bidding to become the fourth course to stage the Rolex Series event.

It is believed that Tourism NI are backing Castlerock's bid to host the event as they are eager to have the tournament in Northern Ireland again following the success of last month's Open Championship in Portrush.

Discussions have already taken place with officials from the European Tour, who are understood to be on board with the idea of the Irish Open returning to Northern Ireland in 2021 and 2023 on an alternating basis.

• Lisburn's Aaron Marshall is well placed after the first round of The Boys' Amateur Open at Saunton Golf Club in Devon, sitting in a tie for 24th after a one-under par 70.

Keaton Morrison (Holywood) shot a four-over par 75 in his opening round to lie four shots off a qualification spot for the match-play stage, which will see the top-64 compete for the title in the latter stages of the week.

At the Girls' Amateur Open at Panmure, Kirkistown Castle ace Beth Coulter shot a four-over par opening round of 75 to sit just inside the top-64 which, like in the boys' event, will qualify for the match-play stage.

On the PGA EuroPro Tour, Jonathan Caldwell (Clandeboye) is four shots off the lead at The Hotelplanner.com Championship in Oxfordshire after a highly promising three-under par 69 in his opening round.

The other Northern Irishman in the field, Owen Crooks, fired a level par 72, with Nicholas Poppleton (England) leading on seven-under par.

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